Time For a Change

It’s time for a change. Plain and simple.

I have had this tiny corner of the internet since early 2010, and I have loved it. Yet, over the past couple years, I have found myself less and less inspired to write. When I started this blog, the premise was to follow my journey as a grad student intern during a summer in Oregon, and then again during the following school year while I was interning at UW-Madison. Then I chronicled my first few years as a new professional in the world of higher education. While I’ve always shared my travels and photography, the core of this blog has always been my work in higher education. It was a great way for me to process my internships and starting my position in Duluth. And now, I share very little here. It makes me sad because I do love blogging, writing, and sharing. One thing to understand is that a major portion of my work as a career counselor is doing the social media for my office. Among those platforms is a blog, and it’s all about career-related topics. While I am not a main writer for the office blog, I am working on it just about every day. With the work on the office blog, along with all of the other social media I do for my job, I have found myself drifting away from social media in my personal life (with a few exceptions). I felt that the premise of my blog was too closely tied to work, and I like to have a fairly clear separation between work and the rest of life. I have found myself on many occasions wanting to write about some topic but thinking it didn’t jive with the tone of the blog.

So, I’m making a change. The title, the premise, the look, everything.

I recently was watching Julie and Julia. It’s hands-down one of my favorite movies. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the quick version. Julie Powell is lost in her life as she’s turning 30. She loves to cook. She decides to cook her way through Julia Child’s cookbook in a year, and blog about it. I’m always inspired when I watch this movie. While I was watching it the other day, I thought about starting a completely new blog. One that was separate from my career and focused on the things I love outside of work. A place where I could share about scrapbooking, traveling, or updating my family cookbook, and not have it feel weird or “off-brand.” I realized, though, that I didn’t want to have a completely separate blog to manage. It seemed unnecessary. So, we’ll stay here at ellenhatfield.wordpress.com and spruce the place up a bit.

Here are a few things to know as we move forward:
I like to make things. I like to play with paper. I like to cook and, on occasion, bake. I like to capture moments in time. I like to travel. I like to read books and watch movies. I like to choose joy on a regular basis.

So here’s what I came up with: Ellen Makes Things.

Thanks for sticking around all these years. Or, welcome to the party, if you’re new. I make no promises about the consistency of posting. But I do promise I’m going to have fun sharing whatever I decide to make.


Type Class

Over the past 12 weeks I have whole-heartedly participated in a class by Ali Edwards called Type. Ali is pretty big in the memory keeping/scrapbooking world and I’ve been reading her blog for a couple years now. I love that the core of her work is always the story. Type was a brand new class with a focus on ways to get words onto our projects in different ways. I waffled for weeks about taking the class. The class was kinda pricey, but I knew from previous experiences with Ali’s educational content that it would be worth the money. The night before the class was to start, I pulled the trigger and signed up for the class. I’m so happy I did! For 12 weeks, I’ve watched my memory keeping methods evolve and my Photoshop skills grow. I just finished the last lesson tonight, so I’m sure in the next few days and weeks I’ll have more thoughts on this class.

Each of the 12 weeks had a theme. For each week there was a handout with a main content presentation. Ali also would have 2-4 process videos of her putting together layouts or showing how to do something in Photoshop. There was also a message board to communicate with other class members and Ali along with a gallery where we could share our projects based on the lessons. I loved seeing what other people came up with. As I mentioned before, Ali’s educational content is top-notch. I have learned so much throughout the class. The class was also great to focus on after a busy day at work. It’s such a different mode of thinking. However, I have noticed that I’m using things I learned in the class at work. How cool is that?

Below are my pieces I made based on the week’s lesson.

Wk 1: Type Basics. No layout this week. It was super content heavy on all of the basics of type.

Wk 2: Type in Neat Little Lines & Rows. This week was about longer journaling on a layout. I used this opportunity to make a layout about my trip to Baltimore I took in 2011. I used the content from this blog post on the layout.

Deciding to Be More

Wk 3: Type Marriages. Pairing together different styles of font. I made a layout about my trip to Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site in Montana for this lesson. The page already had the Serif style font of “Grant-Kohrs” and I paired it with a wood chip piece with script.

Type Marriage GKNHS

Wk 4: Type vs. Type. This week was all about contrast. I used different styles of letters to spell out “North Dakota.”

Type vs Type ND

Wk 5 & Wk 6: Type Play. We had 2 weeks of different ways of how to “play” with type. I have 2 examples where I used letter stickers to repeat a word over and over again. Very fun way to use up some of that letter sticker stash I have.

Type Play MT

Type Play Travel

Wk 7: Type Stacks. This week was all about words stacked on top of one another. I don’t have a layout to show. However, this is a lesson I’ve used at work. I created type stacks for a new graphic representation of our career development plan. I went out on a limb & was super happy that my boss liked it so much.

Wk 8: Dear Type, I’m Over You. This was all about type over type or type in shapes. I used the idea as I was putting together the date card for a Project Life layout.

Over type June PL

Wk 9: Type by Hand. Yes! Using our own handwriting. I will often just use my own handwriting when I’m journaling on a layout. For this week, I had fun with a brush marker and wrote out “June” many times on a 4×6 card for a Project Life layout.

Type by Hand June PL

Wk 10: Type on Photos. Learned how to put fun type on photos in Photoshop. I used the word “weekend” from the digital download for the week.

Weekend photo type class

Wk 11: Type as Art. Making type artsy. I had a little fun in Photoshop with putting my name on a 4×6 card. I then added some word/phrase stickers to describe myself.

Type as Art PL Card

Wk 12: Type Story. This week was all about putting it together. I haven’t made a specific layout for the week yet. I’m looking forward to using all the lessons I’ve learned in Type for my future memory keeping projects.

What Makes Me Happy

My default mode is positive, optimistic, happy, however you want to describe it. This doesn’t mean I never get sad or upset. I just choose to look at the world with a glass-half-full attitude. This past week I started reading the book The Happiness Project with my blog friend Stephanie. The author started her year-long happiness project not because she was sad, she just thought her happiness could be greater.

As I was reading the lengthy intro and first chapter, I started thinking about what makes me happy. I also thought about what could make me happier, or things I think would definitely contribute to my happiness. Here’s my happiness list I brainstormed:

  • Documenting! (Love capturing the everyday, the special, & the beautiful)
    • Project Life
    • Scrapbooking, in general
    • Photography (especially nature)
    • Blogging
  • Color!
  • Expressing my creativity
  • Good design & typography
  • Reading
    • Books & blogs
  • Witnessing the creativity of others
    • In-person, Instagram, Pinterest, Blogs I read
  • Spending time with and talking to my family and friends
  • Music
  • Creating/Working on projects
    • Knitting & crocheting especially
  • Personal touches in addition to a well-thought out décor design
    • Show that you are actually investing yourself in your space
  • Talking to people who work in Higher Ed and what they’re excited about by the field
  • Crossing or checking off things on my to-do list
  • Helping/working with students
    • Love helping to celebrate their successes
    • Proud to watch them grow (especially my Peer Educators!)
  • Traveling
  • Coffee
  • Returning to my Favorites
    • Books: Pride & Prejudice, HP series, Divergent series
    • TV Shows: Gilmore Girls, West Wing, Army Wives
    • Movies: Julie & Julia, Jane Austen Book Club, Pride & Prejudice, The Devil Wears Prada, The Holiday
  • Fresh, in-season strawberries
  • Smell of fresh cut hay
  • Spending time next to Lake Superior (beach, walks, parks)
  • National & State Parks
  • Hiking
  • Really getting to know the students who work in my office
  • Singing to music really loudly in my car
  • Being able to provide opportunities for my students (blogging, presenting, etc)

It’s quite a long list and I’m guessing not totally complete

After making my initial list, I started going through my Project Life albums to see if there was anything I missed. I came across this quote I had included in one of the weekly spreads, “It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” Reading that quote caused me to pause and reflect. To have joy (or happiness) we need to have gratitude (or appreciation, awareness, thankfulness, etc). Even just going through the process of making my happiness list helped me appreciate and be grateful that there are so many things in my life that bring me joy and happiness.

What’s on your happiness list?

Around Here – February Edition

Reading: just finished Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince and now I’m onto Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. Seriously love these books.

HP 6

Watching: Season 3 and what has aired so far of Season 4 of Hart of Dixie. I forgot how much I enjoy that show. Some of it is just pure ridiculous, and that is what makes it great.

Progressing: I’ve read in a book for fun every day since January 1st. My goal is to read for fun every day this year.

Giving up: Said goodbye to soda for Lent. Hoping it’s a forever goodbye. However, the afternoon lack of alertness is a struggle.

Freezing: It’s been so cold here Duluth. The sunlight in the morning has been fantastic, but I’m so over winter.

Iced Tree Branch


Listening: The Wind and the Wave From the Wreckage album (discovered this great duo after their songs were used on Hart of Dixie); Maroon 5 album (late to the game on this one, but still really enjoy it); Alex & Sierra Scarecrow song (another find from Hart of Dixie); Kelly Clarkson’s new song Heartbeat Song

Making: Getting caught up on my Project Life album. Still loving this mode of documenting and can’t wait to wrap up my full second year of using this system of scrapbooking.

Encouraging: My students, as they do the work to prepare themselves for attending career fairs, applying for jobs and internships, and making some major life choices.

UM Job Fair

Snacking: Trying out Graze snack boxes thanks to Kendra. Healthy snacks sent right to my office! Here’s a referral code for you to try out your first box free: https://www.graze.com/us/p/ELLENH7WU

Enjoying: Early weekend mornings spent at Caribou Coffee getting things like professional development reading and blog planning done.

Book at Caribou

What have you been up to lately?

Sharing is Caring

Hello internet friends! I hope that your Fall is shaping up to be a good one. If you’ve missed me, sorry! A major component of my job is doing social media for my department and when I come home at night, I don’t have the motivation to keep crafting a message. I’ve been choosing to unwind in other ways (like crafting, reading, and watching my shows). I just thought I’d pop in with a few things I’ve been loving lately. Because, let’s be honest, sharing is caring. 🙂

Elise Blaha Cripe’s speech from the World Domination Summit conference. This was phenomenal. I watched it just before writing this post. I already want to watch it again and take some notes. Such good messages about trying, starting at step 1, saying things out loud, and that sometimes it’s okay to stop doing something if it’s not fulfilling to you anymore.

I did write a guest blog post! It was for the blog I run for my office. The post is all about finding a career in student affairs and how students can do that exploring right on our campus. It was one of those posts that I thought about over a day or two and then just sat down and wrote the thing. And wrote, and wrote, and edited, and wrote a little bit more.

Install the Momentum App if you use Chrome for your internet browser. You’ll thank me later. It runs in your “new tab” and provides a number things. You get to have a to-do list, weather, the time, an inspirational quote, a beautiful photo that changes daily, and your own goal for the day. I use it on a daily basis at work to keep track of all that I need to get accomplished throughout the day.

Taylor Swift – 1989. Loving the new T. Swift album.

Once it was announced in September that Gilmore Girls was coming to Netflix October 1st, I dug out my DVDs and started watching them. I have the entire series so I’ve been watching a few episodes each day. Currently in Season 5. Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite TV shows ever. I got hooked on it at the beginning of college (which happened to be season 2) and have watched the series many times over. It’s right up there with West Wing, Big Bang Theory, Friday Night Lights, and Friends. Speaking of Friends, it’s coming to Netflix in January. So excited!

Fall has been mostly fabulous here in Duluth. I say “mostly” because we have had some gross weather (like drizzle fog) mixed in with the gorgeous days. The photo below is from the Bagley Nature Area right next to the UMD campus near leaf peak at the end of September.

Bagley Sept 14

Time by the Lake

Sunday was absolutely beautiful. Warm, cozy sunshine, a calm lake, and the itch to spend some time outside were all great reasons to do a small trip up the shore. I ventured up just past Two Harbors (about 20-25 miles north of Duluth) and just enjoyed the sunshine and some time by the water. Lake Superior was soooo calm. It was a picture perfect day.

Lake Superior FeetFlood Bay 6.2014

Recommended Consumption

Happy Spring Break all! Well, it might not be Spring Break for you, but it is for me. I love this week. I’m still working, and I have the time to really dig into a couple of projects, along with relaxing a little. With all of my relaxing, I’ve been doing some reading around the interwebs, so I thought I’d share some of what I’ve found to be of interest lately. There’s no real theme, just blog posts I’ve saved in my Feedly Reader for fun and for work. Enjoy!